MUMBAI: A special PMLA court in Mumbai, in its order denying default bail to former Maharashtra home minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh in a money laundering case, said extension of his judicial custody was not illegal and that the Enforcement Directorate had filed its supplementary charge sheet within the stipulated 60-day period.
The court also held that taking cognizance of offence after filing of charge sheet is not a 'sine qua non' (an essential condition) for exercising the judicial power vested under Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
Deshmukh's plea for default bail was rejected by special PMLA judge R M Rokade on January 18, and the detailed order was made available on Friday.
Deshmukh, in his application, had said the special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act cases did not take cognizance of the charge sheet filed by the ED before remanding him in further judicial custody, and, therefore, he was entitled to bail by 'default'.
The plea by Deshmukh, who was arrested on November 2, 2021 and is currently in judicial custody, was opposed by the ED, which said the charge sheet was filed within the stipulated time.
The ED said the concept of taking cognizance is not mandatory under the relevant CrPC section, adding that if the investigation is completed and charge sheet is filed with the concerned court official, the fact that cognizance is not taken by the court within 60 days period contemplated under the provisions of the CrPC is "immaterial".
The court, after hearing both sides and perusal of documents on record, held that ED had filed the supplementary complaint against the applicant and others within the period of 60 days as prescribed under the relevant section of CrPC on December 29.
The supplementary complaint came to be filed before the registry of the court.
Therefore, the extension of judicial custody on December 27 cannot be held per se illegal, the court said.
"The accrual of statutory right of default bail is dependent on singular factor of not filing of charge sheet final report within 60 or 90 days as the case may be. Taking cognizance of offence after filing of charge sheet is not a sine qua non for exercising the judicial power vested under CrPC," the court said.
Deshmukh was accused of corruption and bribery by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh, after which the ED and CBI registered cases against the former state home minister.